Angel Zarraga was passionately interested in football which in the 1920's had become a most popular sport. His first wife Jeanette Ivanoff was a dance teacher as well as a football player. She was captain of the team Les Sportives, which won the French feminine championship in 1922, an event captured by the artist in the painting Las Futbolistas in the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.
This was a time when the artistic world was in search of fusing art with sports, and in 1925 an exhibition of paintings and sculptures reflecting this quest was held in Paris. The lectures which Marcel Berger held at the Sorbonne were famous, and the poet Géo Charles dedicated a poem especially to football. Newspapers such as Match and Le Miroir des Sports et Football enjoyed a large circulation, reporting on football, rugby, cycling, aviation and tennis.
Le Jeune Footboleur belongs to a series of about a dozen paintings which the artist created during this period. In using an urban setting, Zarraga embued the painting with a certain symbolism. The three conical buildings underneath the smokestacks of the factory could be viewed as an allusion to his native Mexico. Although he lived in France for 35 years, he never forgot his country and expressed this sentiment in many of his canvases.
This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist being prepared by Mrs. Ortiz Islas de Jodar. We are grateful for her assistance in cataloguing this work.